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Archived Staff Picks - October 2012


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Archived Staff Picks - October 2012


Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike
By: Charlotte Gray
Recommended by Robert

To many, the term "Canadian History" brings back memories of dull constitutional developments and continuous partisan debates. In Charlotte Grays' Globe and Mail best book, we are introduced to a different kind of Canadian history. The discovery of rich gold deposits in Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territories in 1896 triggered an invasion by thousands in search of riches. Gray chronicles the history of the Gold Rush through the stories of six unique individuals who found their way in the Yukon at this time. These include William Haskell, an American prospector, Father Judge, a dedicated Jesuit priest, Belinda Mulrooney, an ambitious business woman and saloon keeper, a young Jack London, the Times journalist, Flora Shaw and Sam Steele, the local head of the RCMP. During the last few years of the 19th century, Dawson City grows from a sleepy settlement into a rowdy, boisterous mecca for all who want to find enough gold to alter their lives forever. Of course, very few actually did strike it rich, but their lives were forever changed by their difficult experiences. The Klondike Rush became the closest thing Canada ever had to America's Wild West, at least until Sam Steele's Mounties imposed a typical Canadian order upon the unruly scene. In Gray's book, we feel the cold, the dirt and the exhaustion as young men risked all for the opportunity to turn nuggets and gold dust into riches. Miners, saloon keepers, prostitutes, preachers and law makers came together to create for a very short time a society unlike no other in Canada's history. In "Gold Diggers" Ms. Gray has brought to life this remarkable era.

This title is available in Book format.







By: Ellen Hopkins
Recommended by Rachel

Sex, motherhood and relationships bring three friends together and tear them apart in a melodrama told entirely in verse. As one woman's marriage unravels, another one's rekindles. As one woman's family comes apart at the seams, another's is reconfigured into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman's up is another one's down, and all three of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal and forgiveness before it is through
Holly, Andrea and Marissa are all facing midlife crises. Holly deals by losing weight and starting a string of casual affairs, endangering the kind of stable family life that single mom Andrea has always coveted - and so after a string of disappointing dates Andrea starts up with Holly's lawyer husband Jace.   Marissa, meanwhile is dealing with the decline of her congenitally ill 4-year-old daughter and the attitude of her gay son. Along the way, Holly starts to write erotica, Andrea deals with her job at the DMV and Marissa watches her husband, worn out by their daughter's struggle, pull away.

This title is available in Book and Book on CD formats.
This review is from

Sisters of the Sari
By: Brenda L. Baker
Recommended by Pauline

A debut novel about an American woman and an Indian woman who are about to dramatically change each other's lives - along with the lives of those around them. While vacationing in India, Kiria Langdon, the opinionated and driven CEO of a major company, meets Sanroshi, a former slave who now works as a cleaning lady and lives in a shelter for homeless women in Chennai. Appalled by the conditions in the shelter, Kiria becomes obsessed with the idea of building decent housing for poor working women in India. Santoshi reluctantly agrees to help, even though she thinks Kiria's ideas are too crazy to succeed. Embarking on a rich journey of personal discovery, both women will learn invaluable lessons about themselves as they forge a powerful bond of sisterhood across the barriers of language and culture - a bond that makes anything possible.

This title is available in Book format.
This review is from

The Sea Captain's Wife
By: Beth Powning
Recommended by Ann

Growing up on the Bay of Fundy, Azuba Galloway dreams of going to sea. She watches magnificent ships slowly making their way into Whelan's Cove, the sense of exoticism bursting from their holds along with foreign goods.
As a young woman, Azuba marries a seasoned merchant sea captain, Nathaniel Bradstock. Unwilling to have him away at sea for most of their married life, and anxious to see far shores, she extracts a promise that he will take her with him. But Azuba becomes pregnant soon after they marry and Nathaniel knows too well the perils of life on a ship. He reneges on his promise and refuses to allow Azuba to join him.
When Nathaniel leaves on his journey, Azuba desperately misses her husband. Days turn into weeks and months - voyages can take two, three years before the ship and crew return home. Despite her loneliness, Azuba becomes a strong independent woman, caring for her child and her home. With her parents and beloved grandmother nearby, she settles into a life of quietude and predictability, all the while yearning to be by her husband's side aboard his ship.
Her loneliness eventually propels her into a friendship with the local vicar, Reverend Simon Walton. He is a quiet, kind and contemplative man, and Azuba takes comfort and enjoyment in their increasingly intimate friendship. One afternoon, despite her misgivings, Azuba goes on a picnic with the vicar and becomes trapped by the tide. When they return home the next morning, Azuba and Reverend Walton have become a topic of gossip.
It is October 1862. It will be three years before Azuba sees the shores of Whelan's Cove again. Aboard Traveller, the small family visits places Azuba dreamed she would one day see: London, San Francisco and exotic countries in Europe.
But she also experiences the terror that can come during s life at sea: a harrowing passage around Cape Horn, half-starvation while listlessly floating in the doldrums, and a stop at the Chincha islands to pick up a load of guano, where she witnesses a mass suicide by slaves. She begins to question her decision to join her husband, particularly when she realizes there is "no way to erase horror from a child's memory."
With a sure hand, Beth Powning captures life aboard a sailing ship - ferocious storms, the impossibly isolated ports of call, the gruelling daily routine - and shows how love evolves even in the most extreme circumstances.
The Sea Captain's Wife is an awe-inspiring tour that captures the vigour of life in the last days of the Age of Sail and gives us an unforgettable young heroine who shows compassion, courage and love while under incredible duress.
This is a must read ... very enjoyable.

This title is available in Book format.

The Lucky One (DVD)
Novel By: Nicholas Sparks
Recommended by Kathy

Based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One, is a romantic drama starring Zac Efron (High School Musical) as Logan Thibault and Taylor Schilling as Beth Clayton. Also appearing as Beth's grandmother is Blythe Danner. This picture is directed by Scott Hicks (Snow Falling on Cedars) with the screenplay written by Will Fetters.
The Lucky One follows one marine (Efron) nearly at the end of his third tour of duty in Iraq. Subsequent to a dangerous mission involving two platoons, Logan finds a picture of a woman in the debris. He picks it up, turns it over and reads the message "Keep safe x". Just after finding the picture, a mortar attack kills the soldiers around him, but Logan is left with only minor injuries. Logan pockets the picture, and tries to locate the owner of the picture, with no luck. Later, Logan, travelling with a squad mate, tells him that he considers the woman in the picture "His guardian angel". Their vehicle is then hit by a roadside bomb and while the squad mate is killed, Logan once again escapes with his life.
Finishing up his tour, Logan returns to his sister's home in Colorado, but finds it difficult to adjust to civilian life. With the aid of the internet Logan discovers the location of the lighthouse in the picture, and sets out to try to find the woman he thinks of as his "Guardian Angel." He walks to Louisiana in the company of his German Shepherd "Zeus". Once in the vicinity of the lighthouse, Logan asks around about the identity of the woman in the picture.
Logan finds the woman, Beth and her grandmother Ellie, running a kennel. Also living with Beth is her son Ben. Logan gains employment at the kennel and finds a place to live nearby. Ben's father, Keith is a deputy sheriff in the town and his father is a mayoral candidate. Keith resents Logan working at the kennel and is jealous of Logan's and Beth's interactions. All the time, Logan keeps the secret of the picture, and never tells Beth that he has it or that he came to Louisiana just to find her. Logan eventually learns that Beth sent the picture to her brother Drake, who was killed in Iraq, although no one is sure how he died.
Once Beth discovers why Logan came to Louisiana, she is upset and Logan is forced to leave. Keith, after a confrontation with Logan, heads to Beth's to talk to her. Ben, hearing the argument between his father and mother, runs out into a violent storm. Keith and Beth follow Ben, trying to locate him. Logan arrives at the house and Ellie also sends him after Beth and Ben. While Keith dies trying to save his son, Logan pulls the boy to safety. Once safely back home, Logan shows Beth the picture and explains how he came to have it. He is also able to clarify for Beth that her brother died saving one of his fellow soldiers. Logan begins to leave the property but Beth reconsiders his motives, runs after him and asks him to stay.

This title is available in Book, Large Print, Book on CD, DVD, Downloadable Ebook and Audiobook formats.

A Place in the Country
By: Elizabeth Adler
Recommended by Kim

Elizabeth Adler delivers an emotionally powerful novel about mothers and daughters, the secrets we share, and those we keep to ourselves.
Fifteen-year-old Issy, and her newly-single mother Caroline Evans, are struggling to find their way alone, as well as together. At thirty-eight, Caroline is coming to terms with this new life, even though she has little money and all the irreconcilabilities for the two of them. When she decides to leave their well-off lives in Singapore (and her cheating husband and his long-time mistress), she ends up living in an English village pub, cooking dinners to earn enough to get by on: meeting unexpectedly quirky people, and making friends. But Issy still adores her father and secretly blames her mother for their change in life. When Caroline's dream of restoring an old barn into a restaurant finally begins to come true, her chance at happiness hangs in the balance as whispers of murder and vengeance find their way to her. When Issy, hovering in that limbo between girl and young woman, begins to make some dangerous choices, the stakes are raised even higher. A Place in the Country is filled with emotions that every woman will recognize as Caroline and Issy make their way in the world and do battle with those who would wish to see them lose their chances to gain their hearts' desires. Love and hate, blame and responsibility, deception and trust all collide in this novel that is Elizabeth Adler at her page-turning best.

This title is available in Book format.
This review is from


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